Living With Diabetes
Diet changes, blood sugar checks, and doctor's visits: A diabetes diagnosis can introduce big changes to your life. We understand these changes may seem like a lot all at once. At the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Health (CDEH), we want to show you how great life can be when living with diabetes.
Our team of compassionate experts is committed to seeing you healthy and happy at every visit. We’ll provide a range of support and resources to help you cope with a diabetes diagnosis. Learning healthy habits have helped many people with diabetes thrive in their everyday life — and you can, too.
Find a diabetes diet plan that works for you
What, how much, and when you eat can affect your blood sugar levels in different ways. That’s why it’s so important for people with diabetes to educate themselves on healthy food habits.
We can help. Our registered dietitians can help you develop a personalized meal plan that you will enjoy eating and find easy to manage — whether you’re at work, home, or out and about. Our team can also talk you through your specific challenges and provide general guidance to overcome common diabetes pitfalls, including how to:
- Identify a handful of diabetes-friendly foods and stick with them, to ease your way into your new diet
- Plan your meals ahead of time
- Estimate portion size
Read more about diabetes and weight loss at AHN.
Learn to monitor your blood sugar levels
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, your physician will want you to check your blood sugar levels with a glucometer. By doing so, you’ll know how food, exercise, and medicine affect your blood sugar. You’ll also be able to recognize your triggers (foods that can spike your blood sugar) and how to select a healthy alternative or make up for them with medication.
Monitoring your blood sugar levels helps you prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can cause life-threatening complications. Learn more about what hypoglycemia is.
If you have type 1 diabetes, monitoring your blood sugar can also help you make decisions about:
- When to take your insulin doses
- Which (and how much) certain foods you should eat
- When you should exercise
Start healthy diabetes exercise habits
Being active offers a number of health benefits. Exercise reduces stress and lowers your risk for diabetes-related health complications. People with diabetes have many options — from light walking to joining a sports league — when it comes to fitting physical activity into their life.
Exercise can affect people with diabetes differently. It depends on what type of diabetes you have and other factors that may affect your health. You should always talk to your doctor, or a member of the AHN Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Health, before starting any vigorous physical activity.
Our team can help you figure out what type of exercise is best for you and how exercise can help you. When in doubt, adding regular walking to your daily routine is a good way to start until you can talk to your medical team.
Cope with a diabetes diagnosis in healthy ways
It’s completely normal for the changes that come with a diabetes diagnosis to affect your emotional health. At the CDEH, we have a behavioral health specialist that helps people living with diabetes learn healthy ways to cope with common emotional challenges, including:
- Problems sleeping
- Social isolation
- Emotional eating
- Stress and anxiety
Find out more about psychiatry, behavioral, and mental health at AHN.
Our diabetes care focuses on living well with diabetes
At the CDEH, our goal is to give you the education and support you need to live an active, full life with diabetes. People choose us for diabetes care because of our:
- Expertise from endocrinologists, behavioral health specialists, and other providers who specialize in maximizing your whole (physical, mental, and emotional) health after a diabetes diagnosis
- Personalized education tailored to the needs you have today, so you leave our office informed but never overwhelmed by too much information
- Weight loss guidance from experienced specialists who can help you reach your weight loss goals and improve your diabetes control with surgical or nonsurgical solutions
- Convenient of follow-up phone appointments to replace some in-office visits so you can balance your blood sugar levels at home